Now for François Pelletier. Based on his given ages in 1662 and 1667 we place his date of birth about 1635. He crosses the Atlantic ocean when no more than an infant, grows up in Québec City and, at the age of about ten, moves to Sillery.
Amerindians were surely not strangers to him in Québec and Sillery, so it should surprise no one that he marry a so-called "Sauvagesse."
According to the Association des familles Pelletier, early in 1659, François accompanies his brother-in-law, Noël Jérémie-dit-Montagne, on a voyage to the vast "Domaine du Roy", a trade area encompassing the great Saguenay-Lac St-Jean area. We don't know exactly how long Francois stays there, or his motivation for going there in the first place.
Jérémie was authorized to trade in the Domaine, but was François? Perhaps he was abusing his brother-in-law's position to trade illicitly with the Indians; perhaps he sought no more than adventure. We can only guess.
Some time before the autumn of 1659, François has returned to Québec; the Journal des Jésuites says that on November 21, François accompanies the Jesuit Albanel to Tadoussac, stating that he is not at their expense, but is under their name.
Here again we are unsure of François' motivations. Is he no more than a hired hand, or has he devoted himself to missionary work? Tadoussac is the site of a mission and a trading post, a fact further obscuring his motives.
When the Journal mentions Albanel's return from Tadoussac the following April 24, however, Francois' reasons for returning to Tadoussac become a little clearer: the Journal indicates that Albanel has married François to a Christian Amerindienne, without publication of banns, or permission from his parents, the bishop, or the governor, noting that this has caused quite a controversy.
At this point, François' reasons for travelling to the Domaine du Roy with Jérémie early in 1659 are no clearer than before, but we are in a better position to assume why he returned there later that same year with Albanel: for the affection of the "savaugesse," whose Christian name we later learn is Dorothée. Letting our imaginations stray a little into the realm of possibility, we might humbly assume that there was too little time during his first expedition to marry her, and François returned to Quebec determined to revisit Tadoussac and make Dorothée his bride. This would explain their hasty marriage, as well as why they publish no banns and consult neither family members nor local officials.
Albanel was undoubtedly sympathetic to François and Dorothée's situation, or else he certainly would not have taken upon himself to marry them without their having gone through the propers channels and necessary steps.
In the end, if François and Dorothée do truly marry for love, their happiness is short-lived: she dies April 13, 1661, at Quebec's general hospital, leaving no children.
Shortly after Dorothée's death, François betroths Marguerite-Madeleine Morisseau; they publish three banns in the parish of Sillery before their marriage, September 26, 1661. (We might wonder how François was able to move on so quickly after the death of his first bride.)
They settle in Sillery, first on the land of his father, and later on their own property, granted François by the Jesuits in 1667.
Note: To view a copy of this land-grant, both in English and in French, click here
In 1669 François leases his property to Denis Ruette and he and his family head to Sorel, where he has apparently received a concession from Pierre Saurel; their relationship dates to at least 1666 when Saurel led a group of some three hundred men West to avenge the Iroquois massacre of two Frenchmen and to rescue four others captured by the Iroquois.
On October 22, 1675, François purchases an estate from Philippe Gauthier, sieur de Comporte; the frontage runs one "demi-lieue" (1.5 miles) along the St-Lawrence River across from Sorel between the Autray and Berthier estates, and it extends inland one "lieue" (3 miles).
François and Marguerite now merit the titles "sieur" and "seigneuresse", not to denote their nobility, but to reflect the esteem of their peers.
François renames his land "Antaya," discontinuing "Dorvilliers" and "Comporte," names it has borne in the past, but in some later notarized and baptismal acts we see "Dorvilliers" is sometimes used. Two years after this purchase the Pelletier family establishes itself at Antaya, François having sold his 80-arpent property in Sorel to Pierre Coutois, September 17, 1777.
From the 1681 census of New France we see that François maintains sixteen arpents of arable land, owns ten heads of cattle, and possesses three muskets with which to defend his family and homestead. The census places François at Autray, but what is most likely the case is that Antaya, which neighbors Autray, was simply counted under Autray. From Deshaies' 1686 map we see that "Antaia" is a separate estate sitting between Autray and Berthier, as described in the 1675 bill of sale.
(be patient - it's a large file)
François is cited for the last time at the wedding of his dauther, Marguerite-Agnès, May 7, 1685, in Berthier-en-Haut. He is not mentionned again until August 1, 1688, in Montréal: Antoine Adhemar notarizes a contract between a Jean Bougueran (i.e., Beaugrand) and Marguerite Morisseau, "widow of Francois Pelletier Ontaya of Dorvilliers."
Some time after François' death, Marguerite moves to Sainte-Famille, where the families of four of her children have lived since the 1690s; when she witnesses the marriages of two of her children there in 1703, Ste-Famille is her stated residence. She dies at Québec's general hospital December 15, 1707.
Possession of the seigneurie d'Antaya transfers to Pierre Pelletier-Antaya, who eventually sells the land to Louis Balthazar Keberio, December 3, 1754.